Austin Dillon puts No. 3 on pole for Daytona 500

Dillon secures pole place in 500, Truex Jr. behind him in second

Dillon, 23, edged second-place qualifier Martin Truex Jr. (195.852 mph) for the top starting spot, but both drivers are locked into the entrance row for the Nice American Race and will lead their respective fields to green in Thursday night’s Budweiser Duel at Daytona 150-lap qualifying races.

Each Dillon’s No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet and Truex’s No. seventy eight Furniture Row Racing Chevy featured Earnhardt Childress Racing energy below the hood. The entrance-row sweep was the right current for chief engine builder Danny Lawrence, who celebrated a birthday Sunday.

“We obtained him a 1-2 start at Daytona, so that is fairly awesome,” Dillon stated after clinching the pole. “You just try to keep focused, as a result of everyone needs to see this quantity carry out properly. That’s what my goals are – to remain focused.

“It is hard to celebrate, as a result of I know that is simply qualifying, but it’s great for (the team). You never know the next time you’ll be standing in this position again. So it is awesome; simply wish to thank our family again residence at RCR. They’ve accomplished such a superb job – fab shop, engine store, all people, my guys.

“It’s all them. I hoped I didn’t mess it up. We knew we had a fast car, and we introduced it back, so it’s good.”

After Clint Bowyer completed his two-lap run as the 49th and last driver to make an try, staff owner Richard Childress, Dillon’s grandfather, raised a clenched proper fist in triumph. Both Childress and Dillon had been in Victory Lane when Earnhardt received the Daytona 500 for the only time in 1998.

“We needed to placed on a very good show with the three, and I could not be prouder of all people,” Childress said. “(The strain) is at all times on when you’ve bought grandsons racing.”

Roush Fenway Racing teammates Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards qualified third and fourth, respectively, and will begin on the surface of the entrance row in their respective Duels, which can determine the beginning order of positions 3 by way of 32 in the Daytona 500.

Ryan Newman and Brad Keselowski had been fifth and sixth quickest during the time trials.

For the primary three quarters of the session, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had the higher hand.

The primary driver to make a qualifying try, Earnhardt ran 195.211 mph on his cash lap – and waited. One by one, his rivals fired and fell again, till Biffle, the 32nd driver to put up a time, cracked the 46-second mark and knocked Earnhardt off the provisional pole.

Earnhardt Jr., the 2004 Daytona 500 winner, wound up seventh.

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NBA Playoffs: Who Emerges from the (L)east?

NBA playoffs 2013

Anyone who has been watching the NBA this year understands the ridiculous disparity regarding team success between the Eastern and Western conferences. Despite being the resident conference for powerhouses in Indiana and Miami, the Eastern conference is only 37-84 against the West thus far in the season. Only six teams out West boast records under .500, whereas the East has a pitiful twelve teams under .500. To put the situation into even greater perspective, every team in the West outside of Sacramento (7-16) and Utah (6-21) would make the playoffs if they switched conferences. Outside of the obvious picks with the Pacers and Heat, who can be expected to make the playoffs out of the cellar of the East?

 

As of Wednesday night, the six teams joining the Pacers and Heat in the playoffs, in order of seed, would be Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Charlotte, Washington, and Toronto. This is hardly a definite playoff scenario, as a mere six games separate the projected fourth seed Celtics and the bottom-feeder Milwaukee Bucks.

 

In comparison to ESPN’s Training Camp Power Rankings, three teams previously expected to make the playoffs (Brooklyn, Chicago, and New York) are floundering in the East due to three completely separate situations. Brooklyn has suffered injuries and a lack of team chemistry (improving of late having won four of their last five, including a big win over the contending Clippers). Chicago has struggled in the wake of Derrick Rose’s season-ending meniscus tear as their lack of depth has been exposed. Mike Woodson, head coach of New York, is likely one more late-game faux-pas from being canned.

bulls derrick rose

One alteration to the current playoff projections that we can likely expect to be fulfilled would be replacing Toronto with Brooklyn. The Nets are only two games back in the loss column, and their collective resurgence and team health combined with Toronto’s determination to tank (Kyle Lowry is allegedly still being shopped) should result in the Nets overtaking the Raptors.

 

We can be reasonably optimistic that two other current playoff teams will hold onto their spots. Atlanta, the current three-seed, holds the last of three plus-.500 records in the East. Paul Millsap appears to have built a strong connection with fellow big-man Al Horford, and their perimeter is exciting to watch with Jeff Teague’s aggressiveness and Kyle Korver’s marksmanship from deep.

 

 

The other likely solid playoff fixture is Detroit. As a new home for Josh Smith, the nine-year veteran Combo Forward has bolstered an already lethal frontcourt with Greg Monroe and second-year man Andre Drummond. Point Guard by way of Milwaukee, Brandon Jennings is averaging a career high 7.8 Assists Per Game with excellent passing options in Smith, Monroe, and Drummond.

 

The final three spots back East are sure to be the hardest to predict. We can expect Brooklyn to overtake Toronto’s spot, but that still leaves Boston in the hunt in the Atlantic Division. First-year coach Brad Stevens has led the Celtics to a surprising 12-14 start with an excellent selection of young talent. Jordan Crawford is finally learning to play within a system, Avery Bradley is showing a drastically improved touch from the perimeter (45% from the field and 38% from three), and Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, and Kelly Olynyk are excellent pieces to build around. Rajon Rondo’s return is unlikely to hinder the young Celtics success, as he is an excellent distributing Point Guard and defensive presence.

 

nba playoffs

After the Celtics, that leaves us with Charlotte and Washington as the only projected playoff teams as of tonight. Both of these teams will be battling with Chicago and Cleveland to claim the last two playoff sp

 ots. Due to the loss of Rose and off-season departure Nate Robinson, Chicago is going to have to rely even more on Luol Deng to perform on offense. A depleted benchand over-usage of players like Deng, Jimmy Butler, and Joakim Noah will prevent the Bulls from making a playoff appearance.

With the Bulls eliminated, that leaves us with Charlotte, Washington, and Cleveland all competing for two playoff spots. The odd team out will likely be Charlotte, as they lack the offensive focal point that can generate buckets late in games. Kemba Walker, though a budding star, is clearly a notch below John Wall and Kyrie Irving in terms of Point Guard talent.

 

As the season continues, we can likely expect the overall records of Eastern teams to improve. Despite any possible improvements, there don’t seem to be any other teams in the Eastern Conference capable of beating either the Pacers or Heat in the playoffs.

By Austin Murphy – WonderPunter

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Cowboys’ Austin set after 2-game absence

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys will have large receiver Miles Austin in the lineup for Sunday’s game in opposition to the Washington Redskins.

Austin missed the last two video games due to a hamstring pressure suffered within the third quarter of the Sept. 22 win against the St. Louis Rams.

“I am playing in the sport,” Austin said. “I really feel nice.”

Rookie Terrance Williams caught eleven passes for 222 yards and a touchdown in Austin’s absence. Cole Beasley caught seven passes for sixty three yards and a landing taking part in in Austin’s slot position.

The Cowboys don’t anticipate limiting Austin’s snaps in opposition to the Redskins.

“If he is good to go, he is good to go, there is not any question about that,” coach Jason Garrett mentioned. “However having stated that we want to be sure that we handle that stuff the fitting manner. A variety of that stuff is up to him and making ready the precise means.”

Austin has 15 catches for one hundred twenty five yards in three video games this season.

“I am not accountable for the reps,” Austin stated. “I will exit and go every time I get the prospect.”

Austin has had hassle the past two seasons with hamstring injuries. He didn’t miss a game last season, however Garrett has stated there have been solely a handful of occasions he noticed Austin at full power in 2012.

“It’s a arduous deal not being out there,” said Austin, who missed six games because of accidents to each hamstrings in 2011. “And it definitely feels good to be practicing once more and having the ability to run once more.”

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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AdvoCare to sponsor Trevor Bayne in Nationwide in 2014, says Austin Dillon moving to Cup

AdvoCare says Austin Dillon is shifting to Cup subsequent year. (Getty)

AdvoCare, Austin Dillon’s major sponsor within the Nationwide Series over the past two seasons, introduced Wednesday that it was shifting to Trevor Bayne and the No. 6 Nationwide Collection car for the 2014 season.

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The cause given within the launch from the company and Roush Fenway Racing? As a result of Dillon is going to drive full-time within the Cup Sequence.

“AdvoCare served because the sponsor on the No. 3 automotive of Austin Dillon the past two seasons. With Dillon making the move to full-time NASCAR Dash Cup Series racing in 2014, the group started the process of diligently in search of out its best choice shifting forward,” the release said.

However, there hasn’t been an official announcement of Dillon’s 2014 plans or the plans of grandfather Richard Childress’s crew for subsequent season. Kevin Harvick is leaving Richard Childress Racing at the end of the season for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Dillon is working part-time this season in varied capacities and Childress has discussed bringing again the No. three to the Cup Sequence. Dillon, provided that he’s pushed that quantity within the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series, can be the logical candidate to be the primary driver of the No. three at NASCAR’s prime stage since Dale Earnhardt. Plus, it was announced Tuesday that Austin’s youthful brother Ty will drive the No. 3 in the Nationwide Sequence subsequent season with sponsorship from Yuengling.

So the pieces are clearly in place for the move to Cup; this isn’t a prime-secret rumor by any means. However, it’s positively odd that the primary official news of a possible move up is not from Dillon or RCR, but somewhat a departing sponsor and its new team. We have left a message with RCR inquiring about any official announcement about Dillon.

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Austin Dillon subbing for Tony Stewart at Michigan

Austin Dillon won at Tony Stewart’s monitor in July, and now he is driving his car. (Getty)

Austin Dillon was tabbed by Stewart-Haas Racing on Monday to be the substitute driver for Tony Stewart at Michigan on Sunday.

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Dillon at present leads the Nationwide Collection factors standings by three points over Sam Hornish.

“I’ve watched Austin for many years and at every stage of his racing career he’s been profitable,” Stewart mentioned in a group release. “He’s proven to be a really quick learner, and he’s able to adapt rapidly. Being the youngest champion in the historical past of the Truck Series is proof of that. His background in dirt racing is an asset, and off the observe we share lots of the identical interests, specifically, looking and fishing. I do know he’ll carry out effectively at Michigan and I’m just as confident in his ability to correctly symbolize Mobil 1 and Bass Pro Outlets all through the race weekend.”

See, identical to in all relationships, frequent interests are foundational for a replacement driver. Bass Pro Retailers sponsored Dillon when he received the 2010 Camping World Truck Series title.

The group has not named a alternative for the races beginning after Michigan, although Dillon is likely nonetheless a candidate to switch Stewart for more races until he returns from the damaged leg he suffered in a sprint automotive race in Iowa per week in the past. Stewart was launched from the hospital in North Carolina following a second surgery on Sunday evening.

“Effectively, it’ll be a weekly incidence right here for a little while,” Stewart-Haas Racing Competitors Director Greg Zipadelli mentioned Monday afternoon about the alternative process for Stewart. “We’ll consider every race because it comes and do the perfect job we can with putting someone in it we feel will do a great job for Stewart‑Haas and all of our partners.”

“We will probably know extra next week. Tony has a health care provider’s appointment Wednesday here to just kind of go over things, and at that time we’ll have loads higher idea of what we’re doing. But for right now it can probably be every week‑by‑week decision so far as who’s within the automotive.”

Zipadelli seemed to rule out a Nationwide Sequence driver for Stewart’s seat at Michigan on Friday at Watkins Glen, as the Nationwide Collection is running that weekend at Mid-Ohio. Ultimately, Dillon’s schedule was able to be adapted for both races. He tested earlier this season at Mid-Ohio, and observe for the sequence’ first race on the road course begins Thursday, allowing him to spend Friday at Michigan. Dillon ran the primary Michigan Sprint Cup race within the No. 33 and completed eleventh.

That’s his highest end in seven Sprint Cup Series begins this season. In July, he won the primary Camping World Truck Sequence race at Eldora, the grime monitor that Stewart owns.

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Training camp roundup: Austin Collie, Early Doucet find new homes in the NFC West

Austin Collie has signed with the 49ers (Getty Pictures)

Friday was one other busy day within the NFL. We have a busy weekend ahead with the Corridor of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday night and the Corridor of Fame recreation on Sunday night time.

Here’s a fast recap of a number of the things you may have missed on Friday:

• Huge receiver Austin Collie’s free agent tour came to an finish as Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports 1 studies the former Indianapolis Colts receiver has agreed to terms with the San Francisco 49ers, who’re skinny at receiver with Michael Crabtee, Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams on the bodily-unable-to-perform list. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe studies that the 49ers are additionally anticipated to signal broad receiver Lavelle Hawkins, who was launched by the New England Patriots earlier this week.

Fun truth: Hawkins’ agent is Brian Overstreet, the former agent of 49ers cornerback Tarell Brown, who blamed Overstreet after a $2 million base wage escalator voided when he failed to participate in the team’s offseason workout program.

• Injuries on the 49ers continue to mount as Chris Culliver, perhaps the staff’s most consistent cornerback in 2012, will miss the season with a torn ACL.

• The Seattle Seahawks have agreed to phrases on a one-yr cope with former Arizona Cardinals extensive receiver Early Doucet, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports. In his five seasons with the Cardinals, Doucet has 139 receptions for 1,491 yards and seven touchdowns, most of which got here when he caught fifty four balls for 689 yards and five touchdowns in 2011.

• Seahawks vast receiver Sidney Rice returned to the team after flying to Switzerland to endure an non-surgical process on his knee. According to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, Rice stated he was battling patella tendinitis and hopes the treatment will help. Rice added that the treatment lasted 20 minutes, which is interesting in that Rice spent a complete of 24 hours on a airplane.

• Buffalo Bills vast receiver Stevie Johnson left Friday’s practice with a left hamstring injury. Bills head coach Doug Marrone did not know the way serious the damage was, but noted the silver lining that it’ll give youthful players more reps in apply.

“No, once more I am most likely a little bit bit different,” said Marrone. “I look at it as a chance to get these younger guys more reps.”

• Baltimore Ravens cornerback Asa Jackson was suspended eight video games for violating the league’s coverage in opposition to performance-enhancing drugs. Jackson, a 2012 fifth-spherical select of Cal-Poly, was suspended four video games for one more PEDs violation in 2012. The two suspensions will price Jackson over $315,000 in base salary throughout his career.

• Houston Texans left deal with Duane Brown is very impressed with first-spherical extensive receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

“I don’t want to examine him to anyone however I believe somebody that I saw that young would most likely be Larry Fitzgerald with that form of hand-eye coordination and that kind of focus,” Brown stated on Friday. “It’s nice to have him on our staff; it’s a huge weapon for us.”

• New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady turns 36 tomorrow. His plans? “Practice at nine o’clock tomorrow morning.”

Another busy day on the NFL personnel notice. This is a quick roundup:

The Carolina Panthers claimed safety Ricardo Silva (Detroit), signed guard Chris Scott and “waived/injured” rookie defensive sort out Linden Gaydosh. The Chicago Bears waived tight end Brody Eldridge and kicker Austin Signor and signed rookie linebacker Andrew Starks.

Long-snapper Luke Ingram, waived by the Pittsburgh Steelers, was claimed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, who now have three lengthy-snappers in camp.

Veteran center/guard Ryan Lilja formally signed with the Denver Broncos on Friday.

“He is a guy that has some place flexibility, which is something we’re at all times looking to have,” said Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase. “If a guy can are available in and help us with a role, whatever that’s, that’s the type of participant we’re searching for.”

Larry Allen, guard/tackle, 1994-2005 Dallas Cowboys, 2006-07 San Francisco 49ers

Former Cowboys offensive line coach Hudson Houck, remarking on Allen’s strength to the Canton Repository: “I saw him..

more Larry Allen, guard/deal with, 1994-2005 Dallas Cowboys, 2006-07 San Francisco 49ers

Former Cowboys offensive line coach Hudson Houck, remarking on Allen’s energy to the Canton Repository: “I saw him bench press over seven-hundred kilos. It was like a kind of cartoons with Popeye, the place the bar was bent nearly right down to the floor on each ends.”

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Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Vick helps clear up Riley Cooper mess
• Check out Warren Sapp’s distinctive Corridor of Fame bust
• Slideshow: DeMarcus Love joins checklist of NFL gamers suspended for PEDs

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Austin Dillon wins at Eldora in first NASCAR dirt race in 43 years

(Getty)

The Camping World Truck Series’ debut on dirt went from novelty to mainstay in the span of three hours Wednesday night at Eldora Speedway, as Austin Dillon scored the first NASCAR national series win on a dirt track in 43 years.

If you watched and weren’t entertained, I don’t know what to tell you.

“This is real racing right here, this is all I’ve got to say,” Dillon said in victory lane after beating Kyle Larson to the finish line in a green-white-checker sprint.

The thing is, that wasn’t just the joy in Dillon coming out after he reached victory lane. The excitement of being at Tony Stewart’s track was palpable and authentic. Drivers and team members exclaimed throughout the evening about the race, and heck, not even a discouraging word was said by the NASCAR social media chamber, a notoriously finicky segment.

A big reason for that excitement? The racing.

Yes, it was different. But it wasn’t just the difference in styles in how a driver attacks a half-mile dirt track versus a 1.5 mile asphat track that made Wednesday night mesmerizing. It was multiple grooves, the throttle management and a genuine sense that the race was ultimately going to be decided by the drivers and their trucks, not by clean air. (Which can be a bit of an oxymoron at a dirt track anyway.) Throw in a big helping of nostalgia — many NASCAR drivers grew up racing local dirt tracks — and it’s hard not to consider the night a rousing success.

Need proof of how that all came together? Look no further than the battle between Norm Benning and Clay Greenfield in the Last Chance Qualifier race to get into the 150 lap main event. Instead of relying only on single truck qualifying to set the field for the race, NASCAR used heat races and a subsequent last-chance race to whittle the 35 trucks attempting the race to the 30 trucks that would start the race.

With two laps left in the Last Chance race, Benning was holding onto the final transfer spot into the main race in fifth place. Greenfield was right behind him, both drivers in trucks they own and prepare themselves, a far cry from the multi-million dollar operations in the Sprint Cup Series.

Greenfield leaned on Benning’s bumper as the two approached the white flag. Benning got loose, but stayed in the throttle and held the position. As they came through turns three and four again, Greenfield got to the inside of Benning and slid up into him, forcing Benning’s truck into the wall. Sparks flew, but Benning stayed in the gas once again, nipping Greenfield at the line for that last place starting position.

And when Benning got back to the garage? Members from seemingly every team were waiting for him to get out of his truck to congratulate him.

Did NASCAR take a gamble by staging a type of race not run for nearly half a century at an 18,000 seat facility owned by a Sprint Cup Series champion? Probably. Did it pay off? Absolutely. Instead of the question being “Does the Truck Series return next year?” it’s now “When can the Nationwide and Cup Series do this?”